Dental Neck Lesions
(Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions) Feline dental neck lesions are a dental disorder in which portions of the teeth dissolve or are resorbed at the gum line. It is caused by inflammation of the lining (periodontium) of the socket that surrounds and houses the root of the tooth. It may be severe enough to destroy the exposed portion (crown) of the tooth, leaving only the tooth roots. In such cases, the sensitive internal structures of the tooth remain exposed, and the cat experiences considerable pain and discomfort. Signs can include refusal to eat, loss of weight, chattering of the teeth, drooling, and depression. It has been estimated that 20% to 60% of all cats are affected, with 2 to 5 teeth involved in individual cats. It is possible for cats to experience this disorder without the gums showing any outward signs. Generally, however, the gum line is reddened, swollen, and tender. The premolars and molars are most often affected, followed by the canines (fangs) and smaller front teeth (incisors). Removing tartar accumulations by regular dental hygiene at home and periodic, professional dental cleaning plays a very important role in preventing the disease.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Radiographs (x-rays) are generally required to determine the extent of damage to the teeth. If blood tests have not been recently performed, they may be required, especially for individuals over 8 years of age. A cat of any age may require blood studies to assess general health before undergoing general anesthesia or to make certain other underlying disorders do not exist.
2. Treatment includes dental restoration procedures or extraction of the diseased teeth. The severity of the condition, the age and general health of the animal, availability of specialized treatment, and economic considerations dictate the method of treatment.
3. Tooth extraction is the most common treatment, but your veterinarian will discuss the different choices with you.
Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur:
- Your pet refuses to eat.
- Your pet chews with difficulty and seems to be in pain.
- You are unable to administer the medication as prescribed.